by Michael R. Allen
Currently I am living in Chicago over in Humboldt Park. I frequently wind my way through Wicker Park to catch the CTA Blue Line El at the Damen station. Recently I spotted a lovely two-story two-flat at 1423 N. Leavitt being prepared for demolition.
The two-story house had fine details of the Italianate style that prevailed in the neighborhood in the 1870s. The details are all still intact: the wooden cornice with its brackets, the etched shaped stone lintels over the windows and the courses of decorative brickwork running near the tops of the windows. While these are common attributes of Chicago’s 19th century vernacular buildings, here they form a unique composition.
The side has the typical Chicago common brick showing the yellow Wabash clay of eastern Illinois and western Indiana. The sloped parapet is also a familiar site in Wicker Park, albeit one that is disappearing amid taller, boxier new buildings. On October 23, I took the photographs here.
On November 1, I returned and the building at 1423 N. Leavitt was gone.